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Captain Erica Wiebe leads Mumbai Maharathi to an exciting 4-3 win over Jaipur Ninjas

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Mumbai Maharathi emerged victorious over Jaipur Ninjas 4-3 on Day 8 of the Patanjali Powervita Pro Wrestling League Season 2 at the K D Jadhav Indoor Stadium today.

Winning the toss, Jaipur decided to block the 58 kg Women's category and Mumbai, in turn, blocked the 70 kg Men's category.

The first bout of the evening was a closely contested fight between Mumbai's Jabrayil Hasanov and Jaipur's Jakob Makarashvili in the 74 kg. Both wrestlers were matched evenly in terms of experience, but chose to play defensively. Makarashvili gave away one point due to passivity early on and Hasanov used it to his advantage in the second round, getting his opponent in a stranglehold to increase the lead. Eventually, the 2016 Olympics Bronze medalist Hasanov prevailed in the bout by a 3-1 margin.

In the second bout Jaipur's Ritu Phogat was up against Mumbai's Carolina Castillo Hidalgo. Ritu, who is playing in her second PWL, made a comeback with a rousing 4-1 victory, exhibiting her prowess on the mat with two clear takedowns that saw her earn four points. With a victory in the 48 kg Women's category, Jaipur drew level with Mumbai 1-1 in the tie.

The third bout of the match witnessed a nail-biting finish between Indian grapplers Rahul Mann of Jaipur and Vikas Kumar of Mumbai. Vikas, being the less experienced wrestler, conceded points in the first round as Rahul pulled off a takedown and a rollover. Although Rahul got injured midway into the 65 kg Men's bout, he managed to score points using powerful grapple holds but Vikas was quick to attack his injured left leg, scoring crucial points towards the end of the bout. The bout was finally ruled in favour of Mumbai by virtue of Last Points Win even as the scoreline read 6-6.

The 53 kg Women's category saw a bout played between Jaipur's Betzabeth Arguello and Mumbai's 2014 Commonwealth Games Silver medalist Lalita Sehrawat. Both wrestlers asked each other some tough questions even as Lalita went into the second round with a 2-1 lead. The second round was fruitful for Betzabeth though, as she managed to take down Lalita in the final few moments of the bout, winning by a 5-2 margin.

Maharashtra grapplers Utkarsh Kale and Rahul Aware faced each other in the fifth bout as Mumbai's Aware prevailed over Jaipur's Kale 9-6 in a topsy-turvy contest that saw fortunes fluctuate in both rounds. Aware was the first to get his name in the scoring sheet, even as Kale garnered points quickly in an attempt to bridge the deficit. The final round of the bout was won by Rahul Aware, as he overcame a tough challenge from Utkarsh Kale in the 57 kg Men's category.

Jaipur Ninjas had their task cut out in the sixth bout, as 2016 Olympics Bronze medalist Jenny Fransson took on Mumbai's 2016 Olympics Gold medalist and Captain Erica Wiebe in a must-win game. Erica, who took to the mat despite having an injury, displayed tremendous character to execute a decisive takedown, overpowering Jenny Fransson with a fall, pinning her to the mat. Although the scoreline read Jaipur 3, Mumbai 2, Erica was declared the winner by virtue of Win By Fall and was also adjudged the player of the tie. With this result, Mumbai Maharathi gained an unassailable 4-2 lead in the tie.

Elizbar Odikadze, Captain of the Jaipur, salvaged some pride for his team as he defeated his opponent Pavlo Oliynik from Mumbai 3-2 in the 97 kg Men's heavyweight bout. Odikadze was successful in pushing out Oliynik of the protected area to score points, holding on to his nerve to clinch the final bout of the evening. Mumbai Maharathi, however, won the tie 4-3 and finished third in the Points Table.

Erica Wiebe, Captain of the victorious Mumbai Maharathi, said: "I am very happy with the way the team has performed. As for my fight, I think I know how to find a way to win. I love challenges. I do have an injury but as soon as I get on the mat and hear the whistle blow... I am only focusing on my fight."

Rahul Aware from Mumbai, who won a close fight against Jaipur's Utkarsh Kale, said: "I was a bit under pressure today as I was up against a junior wrestler. It always brings a thought to your mind that you have to win the game anyhow. I saw Utkarsh's last few matches and hence I knew it would be a tough one."